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PC Reviews: Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 Professional Edition


Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 Professional Edition Screenshots

The Final Say!


Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 Professional Edition - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 18 November 2002
Review Score: 9.0/10
Distributed by Microsoft 

One of the best commercial flight simulators on the PC gaming market has returned in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 Professional and features some huge improvements over its predecessor.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 Professional Edition Features

  • Air Traffic Control (ATC) 
  • New Graphics Engine
  • Crowded Skies 
  • Floatplane Flying 
  • Enhanced Virtual Cockpits 
  • Flight Analysis 
  • Auto Generated Scenery 
  • Improved Weather System 
  • More then 21,000 Airports 
  • New Lessons and Flights 
  • Multiplayer Capability 
  • Graphical Flight Planner Auto-Gen Technology
  • Nine highly differentiated civilizations
  • Multiple difficulty level
  • Fully functional scenario editor

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 Professional Contents

  • 3 CD's


If you are looking for a combat or arcade flight simulator, then you should really look elsewhere for the latest incarnation of Microsoft's flight simulator is still one of the most realistic games around. As with all Microsoft products, the installation was a breeze and took only a few minutes to install. The automated installation process installs about 2gig of files on your hard drive that dramatically speeds up gaming. The biggest problem with Microsoft Flight Simulator is the loading times before going on a flight. The reason for this is that the game must load all the scenery textures before a flight so you can be ensured for a flawless flight. 

The newest feature of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 Professional Edition is the introduction of a realistic Air Traffic Control. Unlike previous games that had you alone in the sky on some scenarios, there can now be literally dozens of planes in the sky at once and this is where the ATC comes into action. The ATC will give you a variety of orders such as permission to land, take-off and even if there are planes on your flight path. The professional edition also boasts new aircrafts that include the Boeing 747-400, Cessna 208 Caravan on Amphibious Floats and the Raytheon BE58 Baron. Another new feature in the professional version is gMax Editor that allows players to create their own aircrafts, airports and a variety of other objects. There is also a new two-player feature that lets one person to be the flight instructor and the other to be the pilot. 

Thegameplay of MS Flight Simulator is extremely difficult because of the realism ofthe game and the cockpit view features dozens of working instruments thatinclude flight-data such as altitude and speed. Fortunately the game comes witha very comprehensive tutorial that features short videos of John and Martha Kingwho teach you the basics of flying a real aircraft. There is also an ingameinstructor who helps you get around the virtual cockpit of your chosen craft andthings like this make the attention to detail quite amazing. If you are a flightsim enthusiast, then you probably own a flight stick for your computer but ifyou don't, then I really suggest you purchase a decent control system. Thekeyboard and mouse does let you fly the aircraft but only to an extent as youreally need the accuracy of a joystick. That said, it does take some timegetting use to but it's one of the most realistic games around and you can actuallyfly from continent to continent in real time. 

Thegraphics of MS Flight Simulator 2002 Professional is a slight improvement overits predecessor but when you are travelling over vast areas of countryside, itcan become a little boring. Fortunately, Microsoft have implemented a fewfeature called "auto-gen" technology that actually adds buildings andtrees when you are flying so it does give you a feel of realism. Flying near acity is truly spectacular and you really get a sense that you are flying a realaircraft and if you try the Sydney Australia scenario, you can actually flyclose to Sydney itself and see the Opera House and even the Sydney Harbourbridge. 

Theflight simulator series from Microsoft have always been good to people withlow-end computer, fortunately the trend continues here and you can actuallytweak the graphics on your computer until it is just right. Fortunately on ourtest machine (Pentium III 1000Mhz), everything ran extremely smooth with fulldetail turned on. The Professional edition also features some great lightingeffects, especially at dawn and dusk that really showcases the power of theflight simulator engine. Apart from that, there are also various weather effectssuch as storms, overcast skies and everything you can expect in nature. Thecockpit view is extremely realistic and its not just there for looks becauseeverything moves and has a function.

Thedevelopers of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 have gone to extreme lengths whenit comes to the sound aspect of the game. All the aircrafts have their ownunique engine noises and it almost makes you feel like you are actually flying.The Air Traffic Control give you orders as to when you can and can't land and itall comes together perfectly.

Minimum Requirements

- Pentium II 300Mhz or greater processor
- Microsoft Windows 98, ME, 2000 or XP
- 64MB RAM (minimum)
- 650MB Hard Drive Space (minimum)
- Super VGA Monitor (800x600 16-bit)
- DirectX 8.0a or greater

- Microsoft Sidewinder Flight Stick or
  Microsoft compatible joystick
- Multimedia Sound Card
- Quad Speed CD-ROM or DVD-ROM
  Drive or greater

MicrosoftFlight Simulator 2002 Professional is not just your average flight simulator as itboasts over 21,000 different planes and a variety of different scenarios thatrange from Australia to America. If you are looking for a realistic flightsimulator, apart from stepping into a plane, this is the closest you will everget to flying a plane solo if you don't have your pilots license. Sure thegraphics may not be using the latest technology from Nvidia but with so muchdetail happening, this game is about simulation, it's not an arcade combat game.Recommended!

- Andrew B

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com